Even with the highest wage increases in over a decade, many American workers still have less money in their pockets following the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to inflation outpacing hourly pay raises.
With a push for increasing hourly wages, workers may be encouraged to know that wages increased by 3.6% in June of 2021 alone. That is the biggest wage growth in over a decade. Despite what would seem like encouraging news, a new report coming out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that workers “real wages” actually fell by roughly 2%. A real wage is a measure of how much money is made after accounting for the cost of goods and services bought (CNBC). A fall in real wages means that the price of goods and services are outpacing pay raises for American workers.
On Wednesday, Republican Senator Tim Scott came out against government spending coming from the Biden administration. He claimed that some COVID relief efforts, like the extension of unemployment benefits, is making it less enticing for Americans to return to work following the pandemic and causing prices of items like food and gas to increase. Scott said that “We’re slowing our own economic recovery because small businesses have said without question that they can’t find people to go back to work” (Fox Business).
The extension of unemployment benefits can be traced back to the American Rescue plan that the Biden administration passed in March of this year. As outlined on the White House website, the plan includes a national vaccination program, $1,400 COVID relief checks, an additional $300 per week for unemployment through September, emergency aid to cover rent, and more.
The entire package sets aside 1.9 trillion dollars to be spent in pandemic relief efforts. It is one of the biggest relief packages in American history and was passed by both the House and the Senate early this year before being signed by President Biden. The White House website says that the plan “is delivering direct relief to the American People, rescuing the American economy, and starting to beat the virus”, but it has come under fire from Republicans who believe it is slowing economic growth.
ARTICLE: ABBY RANCOUR
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: AMERICAN PROGRESS
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